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Speed up your old system and extend its lifespan

by Mark Le Huray

Speed up your old system and extend its lifespan

Before the downturn we advised that all businesses aim to replace their PC’s and laptops every 4 to 5 years and rather than do this on a big bang basis to simply divide the cost by four and allocate a budget every year. This way its not a surprise that hardware is replaced and its done in smaller bite size chunks.

Whilst we still recommend this as a way forward, over the last couple of years the oil downturn has removed the allocated budget so businesses are now in a position where a growing number of systems need to be replaced and staff are experiencing increasing levels of lost productivity.

We are hearing more and more of the dreaded “switch it on and go get a coffee” along with the always frustrating “spinning blue circle”

With no budget to replace and lost productivity becoming more of a problem what do you do?

The simple answer is to upgrade your hard drive. I am very much not suggesting that we go back to the old days where it was common to replace motherboards, processors and other components in an attempt to extend the life of hardware. The economics of that model no longer made sense a number of years ago and that still very much holds true today. (it is cheaper in terms of hardware and labour to replace a system with a new one than it is on trying to find and upgrade compatible parts)

If you have an older system you most likely have a mechanical hard drive which is basically the same underlying design as a record player where you have spining disks and a readwrite head that moves across the disk to access information. Because they are mechanical whilst much faster than a record player you have to wait for the head to get into the right position so in the worst case scenario the first bit of the file you want to open is on the outer edge of the disk but the last bit is on the inner edge so you have to wait for the head to move from one edge to the next.

Electronic rather than mechanical

Solid State Drives (SSD’s) also store your data but are electronic rather than mechanical so you no longer need to wait for the head to be in the correct position to access your file. This provides a significant performance boost and most laptops now come as standard with a SSD drive. Desktops still tend to ship with mechanical drives as large disks 1TB+ are still cheaper than SSD’s but for most business systems a 128GB or 256GB drive is more than sufficient as all the important data is stored and backed up on the server(s).

So you could gain an immediate performance boost and extend the life of your systems by upgrading your mechanical drives to SSD’s and this will let you bridge the gap between where you are now and the point where you can start to budget and replace systems again.

Simblox are an Aberdeen based IT provider for small and medium businesses and we know that customer service is more important than technical jargon, we also know that keeping things simple is the best way to manage an IT environment. If you would like us to look to look at the options to upgrade your hard drives please get in touch.